OPINION | Barry Richard: Mass Poor Plan Civil Disobedience
Some 100 protesters calling themselves "The Poor People's Campaign" gathered outside the Massachusetts State House on Monday as part of a national call for a "moral revival." Similar rallies were held in at least 30 other states.
Organizer Savina Martin says the group plans a campaign of civil disobedience this spring to call attention to income inequality and increased federal spending on prisons and the military:
"We have come to say clearly that a politics that ignores the poor has gone on far too long."
Martin says the group plans six weeks of "the largest waves of nonviolent civil disobedience in U.S. history," though offered little in the way of specifics.
The protesters delivered letters to legislative leaders demanding action. Those letters stated:
"Poor people of all races are being ignored in our political conversation. Programs to sustain the poor are being cut and health care access and living wages are denied at the state and federal level."
I certainly do not believe that there is a war on America's poor but there should be a war on poverty. To win that war we must provide opportunity. That opportunity has to be in the form of education and jobs.
Simply demanding higher wages and better programs is not the way out of poverty. American families need to stay together, insist that their children receive a good education and work hard for a better life. Those are the keys to success and if applied can work for anyone.
We will discuss all of this at 1 p.m. on my Friday program with June Cooper, an Old South Church theologian and executive director of City Mission Boston.
Editor's Note: Barry Richard is the afternoon host on 1420 WBSM New Bedford. He can be heard weekdays from Noon-3 p.m. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.